Category Archives: Vegetables

Garden-Fresh San Marzano Tomato Sauce

san marzano prep

This spring, I planted a San Marzano tomato plant (as well as two other varieties). I’d never tried this variety, but I figured it was worth a shot.

If I had to do it over again, I’d plant three. Maybe four. That’s how excited I’ve been about them. I’m already making plans for next spring to expand my tomato planting.

The tomatoes from this plant got going a bit later than others, and I thought maybe I was going to have another year buying most of my summer tomatoes from the farmer’s market. Especially since it seems I’ve had a rather poor gardening season so far – squash bugs devastated my zucchini and cucumbers, I have no idea why fire ants love my eggplant, and my lettuce got started late (I had surgery in March on my hip, so I wasn’t able to do some planting for a few weeks), so we only had a few salads before it bolted. (Truth is, I’m mostly a hack at gardening, and learn by trial, error, and a big dose of luck.) But here in the past two weeks, my little San Marzano plant really got going. I pulled off about 15 tomatoes in a week from one plant. I decided it was high time to make sauce. After all, San Marzano tomatoes really shine in a simple, fresh sauce.

I was excited about this sauce. After all, almost everything I tossed in there was from my garden, and if it wasn’t, it was from the farmer’s market. Talk about fresh. It was also super-easy. I didn’t even bother peeling the tomatoes, so it was a rough chop, a long simmer, and a brief visit in the blender, and I had delicious sauce that, dare I say, would rival any Italian grandmother’s.

I might get into major trouble with all Italian grandmothers for admitting that just now.

But really, it is good. Really really good. Hence why I want to plant more San Marzanos next year - so I can make massive quantities of this sauce, freeze or can it, and enjoy all year long. Having a sauce at the ready is awesome for a weeknight dinner (spaghetti in under 20 minutes!) or even a lasagna or baked ziti.

Of course, you don’t have to have fresh tomatoes to make this, so if you can’t find San Marzanos (Romas would be an excellent alternative), don’t fret. Canned tomatoes would work just as well. I’d definitely recommend canned over most of the grocery store tomatoes, especially in winter, as they are superior in taste and price. Your sauce will be just as delicious.

spaghetti on fork

Print Recipe

Garden-Fresh San Marzano Tomato Sauce (gluten-free, vegan)

2 T olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

6-8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 t kosher salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

About 1/4 c fresh basil leaves

About 1 T fresh oregano leaves (you can substitute about 1 teaspoon dried)

3 1/2 pounds fresh San Marzano tomatoes, or other ripe summer tomato, chopped (I don’t bother peeling, but if you prefer, you can cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato and drop into a pot of boiling water for about 60 seconds and remove. The skins should peel right off.)

1 cup dry red wine

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or pot. (I used my enameled Dutch oven.)  Sauté the onion 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional minute, until the garlic is very fragrant. (Be careful not to burn!)

Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and wine, stirring to mix well.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and let cook for about an hour uncovered. Stir the sauce occasionally to make sure the sauce is not reducing too quickly.

Puree in a blender or in a food processor to your liking. If the sauce still seems thin, return to the pot and simmer until the sauce is thick to your liking. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Makes 2 quarts.

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

zucchini cake blog

Just when you thought the zucchini and summer squash recipes were over for the season…

Out comes one more zucchini recipe!

Yes, I’m kind of in a zucchini rut. But there’s just so much of it, and it’s so versatile. Already this summer I’ve made a quinoa-stuffed patty pan squash and a delicious zucchini dip. I also made a zucchini ribbon salad. And that’s just in 2014. Search through the archives, and there’s even more zucchini goodness.

The way I figured it, it was about time for a dessert recipe around here. Thing is, I haven’t made all that many desserts lately. Most days, we don’t have dessert, or we simply enjoy a piece of fruit. No really big reason for it – I just haven’t craved much in the way of sweet treats. But the zucchini was staring at me in the fridge, lonely and starting to go south. I had a few hours before I was to meet up with friends to watch my soccer team play (I’m almost ready to be back playing myself – been a long hiatus with my hip surgery), so I figured this was an excellent time to make a dessert. I’d have someone to help me eat it!

It seems there is never a shortage of helpers in that regard – I show up with food, and people are more than willing to take it off my hands for me. Nevermind that this is a cake with vegetables in it, or even that it’s gluten-free – nobody minded that one bit. It’s definitely not a flashy, pretty, fancy birthday cake, but I don’t think that mattered. Sometimes, simple and homestyle is delicious too. With a tender, moist crumb and the tangy cream cheese frosting, I can’t imagine this cake needs to put on such fancy airs. It speaks for itself.

So if you still have zucchini, why not make a cake? No special occasion necessary.

Print Recipe

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten-free)

2/3 c superfine brown rice flour (I like Authentic Foods)

2/3 c gluten-free oat flour (if you can’t find gluten-free oat flour, you can process GF oats in a food processor until finely powdered)

2/3 c tapioca starch

1 T unflavored gelatin

1/2 t baking soda

2 1/4 t baking powder

3/4 t kosher salt

2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground nutmeg

1/4 t ground ginger

1/2 c butter, softened

1 c granulated sugar

3/4 c brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

1/3 c Greek yogurt

3 c grated zucchini, packed tightly

For the frosting:

6 oz cream cheese, softened slightly

4 T butter, softened

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 1/2 – 2 c powdered sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, gelatin, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the vanilla and Greek yogurt and mix in. Add the flour mixture, about a third at a time, and mix on low speed until everything is blended. Add the zucchini and mix on low speed until everything is mixed evenly.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly with a spatula as necessary.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs still attached. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and a cup of the powdered sugar and mix in on low speed. If the frosting needs to be more stiff, continue to add powdered sugar, beating on low speed at least until incorporated, and then increasing the speed to medium or medium-high to whip smooth. If your frosting is too stiff, add a tablespoon or two of milk and beat in.

Once the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting over the cake evenly. Slice and serve. Refrigerate the cake, covered, to store.

Serves 16.

Quinoa, Mushroom and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

stuffed squash blog

Okay, I know that my previous post was a zucchini recipe, and here we are with yet another variation on summer squash. It’s kind of everywhere at the moment, and I couldn’t pass up these absolutely adorable little sunburst patty pan squash at the farmer’s market this past weekend.

I mean really, aren’t they the sweetest?

They’re remarkably delicious when stuffed as well. They make an awesome side dish, but could just as easily work as a meatless main course. Just prepare a few handy, fresh veggies in a skillet for a few minutes, add a grain, maybe some cheese, stuff and bake. It’s also a great way to use up bits of veggies that are in need of eating before they make a turn for the worse. That’s how this particular mix of veggies happened, anyway – and it was delicious!

Now typically, I would be showering you with all sorts of summer desserts. I’m sure I’ll manage a few here and there, but I’ve been directing my attention to something else entirely as of late. You see, I’m working on my very first ebook! In this book, I’m sharing some simple-but-delicious gum-free, gluten-free baked goods recipes. So if you’ve wanted an excellent go-to recipe for waffles, bread, muffins, or cake, I’m hoping this book will be your #1 reference!

I hope to have it out to you in August, so stay tuned for more information! I’ll be announcing details in my newsletter, so subscribe today if you haven’t already!

Okay, back to these adorable squash. Truthfully, you can use any vegetables in the stuffing mixture that your heart desires. Peas, green onion, red bell pepper, spinach – all would be great here. The key is to make sure they’re chopped finely and cooked beforehand (a few minutes in a skillet will do the trick). I loved the addition of cotija cheese in mine, but Parmesan or feta would be nice as well. It’s one of those “anything goes” recipes that I’m sure you’ll adore during the summer season.

Print Recipe

Quinoa, Mushroom, and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

About 6 small patty pan squash

1 T olive oil (plus more for the insides of the squash)

2 T minced onion

2 oz crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used lacinato, but any variety will work)

1/3 c crumbled cotija cheese (omit for vegan)

2 T chopped fresh parsley

3/4 c cooked quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the squash to make a hat. Carefully score a circle inside the cut squash, and using a small spoon, scoop out the inside flesh. Leave about a half-inch inside. Rub the insides of the squash with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash on a lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and mushroom and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add the garlic and kale and sauté for another minute or until the kale has wilted some and is bright green. Remove from heat and add the cheese, if using, parsley, and the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in.

Spoon the stuffing into the prepared squash, packing rather tightly. (You’ll likely have leftover stuffing; if so, it’s delicious on its own.) Place the “hat” back on top of each squash, and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Serve.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish, 2 as a light meal.

Zucchini, Mint and Lemon Yogurt Dip

zucchini yogurt dip blog

Surely I’m not the only one that has experienced the conundrum of “too much zucchini”. In fact, I can imagine several of you reading this are looking at your gardens right now, wondering what you will possibly do with ALL OF THIS ZUCCHINI. Two loaves of zucchini bread every week couldn’t begin to make a dent in your bounty. So you’re bringing zucchini to your friends, dropping it off at your neighbors, and now, you’re scouring the internet for salvation recipes that aren’t the “same ol’” zucchini recipes, because your family will revolt if they eat it again tonight.

While I seem to not be able to grow zucchini without the squash bugs knowing where I live, my friends certainly can, and I’ve been given a considerable amount of zucchini as well. I already made this zucchini ribbon salad with some, but I still had more on my hands. I wanted something different, and started researching, as many of you have been doing. I came across a dish called Koosa ma Laban – a spread popular in the Middle East and North Africa made from squash, yogurt, tahini, and lemon. Often it also includes mint or parsley. I love the combination of these flavors, and I also happen to have mint growing in abundance in my flower beds, so I opted to make a variation on this dish.

I wanted to make it a really light, refreshing dip, so I opted not to use tahini, instead using a bit of cream cheese to thicken. The result was a cool, creamy dip that was at home with vegetables or bagel chips (gluten-free if you prefer). It was a hit at an Independence Day party, and it would be a perfect appetizer or an excellent alternative to the tired ranch dressing so often served with raw crudités. It can certainly be made in advance, so whip up a batch and bring it along to your next summer party.

Print Recipe

Zucchini, Mint, and Lemon Yogurt Dip (gluten-free)

1 T olive oil

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut into half-inch slices (about 2 cups once sliced)

1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed slightly with side of knife

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt

2 oz plain cream cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

2 T fresh mint, chopped

1/4 t ground cumin

1/8 t ground paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Swirl to coat and add zucchini and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place zucchini and garlic, yogurt, cream cheese, most of the lemon zest, most of the mint, cumin, and paprika in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until pureed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Spoon dip into a wide bowl and drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired, and sprinkle with reserved mint and lemon zest.

Serve with vegetables or bagel chips. Serves 4-6.

Looking for more zucchini recipes? Here are some other ideas:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

Zucchini Red Pepper Egg Muffins

Cheater’s Ratatouille, or Pesto Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomato Bake

 

Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil

creamed grilled corn blog

There is an elderly couple that runs a booth at the farmer’s market, and along with (I presume) their granddaughter, they sell organic produce. They are so sweet and kind, and while I don’t buy all of our produce from them, I do make it a point to purchase sweet corn while they have it available. It’s the best corn I’ve ever tasted. And like most seasonal produce, I cherish the all-too-fleeting moments when it’s available. I’ll be sad when it gets too hot and the corn is gone.

The beauty of fresh, summer corn is that it doesn’t need much adornment. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed grilling it. The slightly smoky grilled flavor perfectly compliments the sweet, juicy kernels. Most nights, that’s more than enough for an awesome, easy side dish. But the other night, I wanted a little something special. I started with grilling, but then decided to continue the process to make some creamed corn.

With a little milk, cheese, Serrano chile, and garnished with fresh basil (one of the few things my garden is successfully growing at the moment), this side dish was beyond awesome. It was craveably delicious. It wasn’t overly rich, as some creamed corn dishes can tend to be, but rather a great representation of summer’s best.

I’ll be at the market again this Saturday, and will cross my fingers that there will be more corn. I don’t want this to be the only time we get to enjoy this dish before summer’s end. (And I have so much basil left!)

Print Recipe

Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil (gluten-free)

4 ears fresh corn, shucked

1-2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 T butter

1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced

2/3 c whole milk

1 oz shredded cheese, such as Gouda or a white cheddar

Salt to taste

1 T chopped fresh basil

Heat grill to medium heat. Rub the corn cobs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes or until kernels have a bit of color/char on them and are tender. Remove and allow to cool enough to touch.

Place the corn cob on end on a cutting board, and using a knife, carefully cut the kernels from the cob. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter to medium heat. Sauté Serrano chile for 1 minute. Add the corn kernels and sauté for another minute. Add the milk and bring almost to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add cheese and stir to melt. Salt to taste. Serve with fresh basil sprinkled over.

Makes 4 servings.

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano

pickled blog

Beets have made plenty of appearances here before. I love them. They’re gorgeous, for starters. Most are an unbelievably intense red, but some varieties are golden, or even striped like candy canes. How could it not be love at first sight? But beyond their good looks, they’re deliciously sweet and earthy. I enjoy them raw, steamed, in salads, roasted, in soups, in dips, or even in desserts. But I also love them pickled.

However, sometimes I think about having such things way too late. The other night, when preparing dinner, it occurred to me that I wanted pickled beets. But typically, making any type of pickle takes advance time. But this version doesn’t. Once you steam the beets, you simply pour over a vinaigrette and serve immediately. Of course, you can store the rest in the refrigerator for a week or more, and they stay just as delicious. I’ve enjoyed having a few slices along with all sorts of meals. They bring a happy brightness that just screams of fresh spring/summer produce.

So if you have a bunch of beets and are wondering what to do with them, why not try making some quick pickles? Eat them as a side dish, as a condiment, or on a salad – any of those options sound delicious to me!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy beets?

Print Recipe

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano (gluten-free, vegan)

About 6 medium beets, stems trimmed to about an inch

1/3 c apple cider vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper

1 small Serrano chile, sliced thin

Place beets in a large pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low boil. Allow to cook until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to touch. Peel the beets. This ought to be fairly easily and can be done with your hands – the peels should slip right off. (If you don’t wish to dye your hands pink, you can wear plastic gloves for this) Slice the beets into 1/4 inch slices and place in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the Serrano chile to the beets, and then pour over this dressing. Toss the beets to coat completely.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

 

 

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

zucchini ribbon salad fg

It’s that time of year around here – time for everyone to unload their massive bounty of zucchini and summer squash upon their friends, family, and neighbors! Everyone except me, that is.

You see, as soon as I plant any squash plant, every squash bug within a 10-mile radius comes to visit. It’s insanity. I’ve tried every organic deterrent that’s been suggested to me, from squishing them on the plant, cayenne pepper, soap and vinegar, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps. They’ve all failed. I even spent last summer with a shop-vac, vacuuming up squash bugs. There were just SO. MANY. BUGS. attacking one plant, and I was afraid if I pulled the plant, they’d go on to attack my melons and cucumbers. So while I’m not proud of being the girl that sucks up bugs in a vacuum, I’m just being honest – I feel like I’ve tried everything. I can’t win the war against squash bugs.

So until I come up with a solution that works, I’ll allow others to grow zucchini and squash, and I’ll gladly take donations. One friend donated a sizeable amount of zucchini and peppers the other day, so I’ve been coming up with ways to consume it all (and not resort to just making zucchini bread, as much as I love it). One night, as I was preparing tacos for dinner, I opted to use some of the same flavors and make a little zucchini salad to go along with them.

The beauty in this salad is that it’s simple and takes just a few minutes to throw together. It’s fresh, and the zucchini ribbons are tender and tasty, especially as they start to absorb the citrusy notes from the lime and the touch of heat from the Serrano chile. It’s easy to eat the entire salad by yourself. (Not that I would know or anything…*cough cough*)

If you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden, or if you were one of the fortunate recipients of zucchini (or even if you avoided all of this insanity and purchased some!), this salad is a great way to use it up and please your palate.

Print Recipe

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large zucchini or several small zucchini

8-10 small cherry tomatoes, halved

Small handful of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

2 T lime juice (from 1 large lime)

1/2 t lime zest

1 t minced fresh Serrano chile, seeds removed (can substitute jalapeno)

2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel long “ribbons” from the zucchini, lengthwise, until you hit the seeds. Rotate the zucchini and do this all the way around. Place ribbons in a medium bowl along with the tomatoes, pepitas and cilantro.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, Serrano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.

Serves 2 (or one hungry person).

Mango and Black Bean Salsa

mango and black bean salsa blog

Need a little something to serve alongside all those margaritas at your Cinco de Mayo celebration? (I mean, you need something to help absorb the tequila, right?) How about something that welcomes the warmth of spring and summer and all things fresh and vibrant?

This fruit salsa is just the thing. It’s perfectly delicious served with tortilla chips, but even better atop grilled chicken or pork. We enjoyed it on top of some broiled tilapia. Truth be told, tilapia isn’t my favorite (I’d forgotten this, but now I am once again reminded), but the salsa is quickly becoming so. I could eat it all by itself, with a spoon. It has all the delicious flavors – sweet mango, spicy jalapeno, fresh cilantro, sour lime, the “meaty” black beans, and enough salt just to make everything really sing. What more could you need?

Oh, that’s right. A margarita. Well, grab a margarita (Hmm, speaking of, maybe I should post some margarita recipes? Let’s see a show of hands – who wants margaritas??) and get to making some of this stuff, and you’re set to celebrate.

Print Recipe

Mango and Black Bean Salsa (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large ripe mango, diced

1 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 green onions, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1/2 lime

Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and season to taste with salt. Chill until ready to serve. Keeps for a day or two (if you can stay out of it that long!).

Makes about 3 cups.

 

Radish Salad with Dill Buttermilk Dressing

radish salad blog

Sometimes, the simplest of things can be the most delicious. I remind myself of this often-forgotten fact every spring, when fresh vegetables start appearing in my garden and in the farmer’s markets. Just a few super-fresh ingredients thrown together can make for a delicious dish. Case in point – radishes.

I feel that for me personally, radishes have gone underappreciated for many years. They’ve always been present in a salad, but I’ve more often celebrated other components – cool cucumbers, crisp lettuce, spicy or bitter greens, or a perfectly ripe tomato. But in truth, they provide a crisp, cool crunch, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, a bit of spice. I’ve found that a fresh radish is truly a delight in itself.

And since the bounty of spring is beginning to show here – my garden is just now producing lettuces big enough to pick, as well as a good amount of cilantro, a ton of kale, and even the spinach is looking pretty tasty – I figured it was high time to create a simple spring salad. I gathered some fresh radishes, a little lettuce, and a few colorful carrots from the farmer’s market, and tossed it together.

I wanted to really bring those flavors together with an easy, delicious dressing. I am also growing dill and chives, and so I whisked together a quick buttermilk dressing with these herbs that was reminiscent of a ranch dressing, only fresher. It’s also easily made dairy-free by swapping out the buttermilk for a coconut milk & lemon juice mixture (I’ll show you how below) – something I often did in my dairy-free days.

This salad is an easy way to bring some fresh spring flavors to your meal. It only takes a few minutes to throw together, and its simplicity allows you to really enjoy each component.

radish salad blog 2

Print Recipe

Radish Salad with Dill Buttermilk Dressing (gluten-free, dairy-free/vegan adaptable)

1 small bunch green lettuce (such as Bibb, romaine, or green leaf)

1 bunch radishes

3 small carrots

2-3 T crumbled feta (omit for vegan)

Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium bowl. Slice the radishes thin and add to the lettuce. Peel the outside of the carrots, and then peel into ribbons for the salad. Add the feta and toss. Place on plates.

Makes 3-4 side salads.

For the dressing:

1/3 c buttermilk (or 1/4 c coconut milk + 1 T lemon juice, whisked)

3 T mayonnaise (can substitute vegan mayonnaise for vegan)

1 1/2 T chopped fresh dill

1 1/2 T chopped fresh chives

1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t garlic powder

Whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in the dill, chives, salt and garlic powder. Chill until ready to use, up to 4-5 days.

Makes about 1/2 cup dressing.

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto”

veggie risotto blog

This past weekend was filled with a few more meals eaten out than usual. Meals of the slim-on-vegetables variety. While I enjoyed what I ate, I was ready for lighter fare. I opted to break out my brown rice, and load it up with all the fresh spring vegetables I could find. Which, after my Saturday trip to the farmer’s market, was quite a lot. I’m notorious for buying every pretty thing I see at the market, and then wondering how in the world I will manage to eat it all before it goes bad.

I don’t cook with brown rice all that often. I like it – especially short-grain – but frankly, I often feel like the 40-45 minute cook time is too long. Which is funny, because honestly, making dinner usually takes me at least that long, once you factor in the dishes I am doing beforehand (from our lunches taken to work) and all. If I simply throw the rice on the stove to cook first thing, then tend to the dishes and the rest of the prep for this dish, it honestly doesn’t take any “extra time” at all. Dinner still happened at “normal” time. It was well worth it.

I mean, check out that result. The brown rice is nutty and slightly chewy, and holds up perfectly to this “risotto” style dish. With a ton of vegetables, and just a splash of cream to tie it together, it’s light and flavorful, and fresh, and plenty filling enough to be considered a main dish if you choose. And while it does have some dairy, it’s easily made dairy-free and/or vegan with a few simple swaps.

So go ahead – go gangbusters at the farmer’s market! Throw caution to the wind! Grab all the fresh green veggies that catch your eye. Throw them all together in this risotto, and you’ll be sure they’ll be enjoyed, rather than ending up sad and forgotten in the crisper. You won’t be sorry.

Print Recipe

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto” (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

2 1/4 c stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 c short-grain brown rice

2 T butter or olive oil

4 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered (or cut into eighths if they are large)

1 green onion, minced

1 small head green garlic, minced (can use 2 cloves of regular garlic if you don’t have green garlic)

1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1/2 c white wine

8 oz asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

8 oz frozen peas, thawed

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used Red Russian, but you can use any variety)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T butter or olive oil

1 T cream (can use almond, soy, or coconut milk for vegan)

2-3 T shaved parmesan (omit for vegan)

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add butter/olive and allow to heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Add the green onion, garlic, and thyme leaves and sauté an additional minute or until fragrant. Add the white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated. Add the asparagus, peas, and kale and sauté for a minute or until the asparagus is bright green and heated through.

Add the rice and stir in, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in the butter/olive oil and cream. Serve, topped with parmesan and fresh parsley.

Serves 4.